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Background Music
Is it a good or bad feature

 3:46 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have heard background music occasionally on websites, but my volume is muted most of the time anyway, so I don't know if it is a popular feature, or even if it is a good or bad feature. Is there any consensus on this?



 7:24 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just do the OPPOSITE of everything listed here:


and you will quickly become THE GREATEST WEBMASTER EVER!


 7:26 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just reminded me whilst working an listening to music … I got a html email through the other day, the bloody thing a had a track embedded nearly took out my speakers GRRRRRRRRRRR


 7:29 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

a client requested we add background music to his vacation rental site. He wants the same song on every page with infinite loop.

we tried to convince him about the download time without bringing up other issues i.e the song is really annoying etc. but he insists.

maybe i should send him over to this discussion thread :)


 7:30 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)


bc great stuff "m**turbation with Javascript" that's a new term for me, living and learning


 7:31 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok I couldn't resist. I just can't believe a thread about background music has made the front page of WW in the year 2003.


 7:38 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Ok I couldn't resist. I just can't believe a thread about background music has made the front page of WW in the year 2003.

maybe its the next big thing and we dont realise!


 7:44 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is a place for background music when it can be properly "associated" with a product. The best recent example I can think of is the Kill-Bill movie site. Their BG music is one of the better, non-annoying, repeating music samples I've heard in a long while.. and I had nothing to do with the site. :-) I would answer the initial question about whether BG music can be done with, "When it's appropriate and no other time. Try it and run it by more than one person to make sure it's at least as cool as *you* think it is."


 7:51 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

remember those dancing hamsters all those years ago - they even released a record.


they even have a few more tunes on it now

jesus wept!


 8:26 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

You beat me to it! I was going to post about hamsterdance. Best page ever made as far as I'm concerned. They're still at the top of the serps for "hampster dancing". For a laugh, look at the category they are in.

Don't worry about those people who hate background music. They are the same people who leave if your text doesn't resize and your layout isn't fluid enough. And they'll never be happy with what you're selling anyway. They're customers you don't need.

Anyone want to do a study on how much adding bg music to their site increased sales? No?


 8:38 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Music, No Back Button, <marquee>, <blink>, all essential webmaster techniques - I'd also recommend, a clunky java applet, or flash movie, and the automatic "make this my homepage" script when they try and leave – they’ll just keep coming back for more…


 8:43 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Don't worry about those people who hate background music.

yeah - they're only customers - who needs 'em? ;)


 8:47 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Customers are suffering.

Background midi can remove customers.

Absence of suffering puts the webmaster on the path to true enlightenment.

Master <EMBED>


 8:56 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't stay on sites that force me to listen to music, Period.


 9:10 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nothing worse than working in a quiet, low-key professional office environment when all of a sudden ... BAM! ... someone's computer starts singing to the whole group.

Talk about embarrassing. Bet that web site never gets visited again.


 9:39 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I visit just ONE MORE website with a hissy sounding, midi version of "I just called to say I love you" or "Smells like teen spirit"..I will, without a doubt, throw my PC speakers out the window.

Anyone remember those Yahoo! banner ads with embedded music that were run awhile back? Now that was a bad, bad idea..

- Chad


 9:53 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

What about voice?


 9:57 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't mind voice as part of a product demonstration - I don't expect it and don't like it when I hit a new site and a voice suddenly comes out of the speakers. Like Flash - use it when appropriate, not because you can (sorry - let's not get derailed on Flash ;))


 10:05 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bad idea. Many people use the internet at work (sometimes illegally) and when they open a website that has music playing it can be really loud if they are unaware that the speakers are turned on/up. LOL. I hate the "You have mail" voice from aol. So annoying.


 10:20 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

What about voice?

I think if you're considering anything that the user might not expect -- whether it be music, voice, charges to their credit card, rainbow-colored divider graphics, pop-up windows, etc. -- you have to warn them first so they can decide if they want it or not. Forcing unexpected things on users isn't what I'd call user-friendly.


 10:51 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but my vote says no! Its considered to be cheap, tacky and unprofessional. A definate no no


 12:46 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I cant believe a thread about bg music has lasted 4 pages.


 1:48 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know a gurl who has like 20 sites, forums and yahoo groups, and each one of those has a backround MIDI file on EACH page (different ones!) that is not even hers, but HOLTINKED to a MIDI site without their permission. Really cute.


 2:07 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

One perk on the Flash trend: the on/off button for background sound. Usually in something like microscopic 8pt-or-minus ultra-hip low contrast text in an upper or lower corner, but it's a welcome relief to whatever supercool sound loop they've chosen to assault the viewer with.

Observed much more often in Flash pages as opposed to plain Jane, garden variety HTML.

You may go blind trying to find the teensy weensy off button, but at least you won't go deaf :)

Robert Charlton

 2:17 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hate it. I just hate it. Oh, how much i hate it. If i hear a midi sound at a web page i close it immediately. Seriously. No second visit.

I agree with a passion. It's an intrusion on my personal space, close behind those sites that open the browser to full screen and disable all local controls and try to force me to watch a five minute Flash presentation.


 2:24 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am TOTALLY new to this, and here is my dumb question.
Have read with great interest your comments regarding background music. All those negative comments! I am building a site for our B&B and have a nice background jingle. However, after reading all the comments, like "tacky" etc. etc. I am of course considering taking the sound off.
Too bad, so sad, I was totally entertained by it myself. That's why I am not a 'webmaster' I guess, just someone having fun with it. Oh well.

[edited by: Marcia at 3:11 am (utc) on Oct. 29, 2003]
[edit reason] See stickymail. ;) [/edit]


 3:02 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just visited a news site with an article about brett favre's broken thumb. Not very exciting stuff I asssure you - unless you are a GBP fan.

As I read the article a booming sound came out of my sub-woofer and all hell broke loose as footballers suddenly appeared over the article and thunderous music accompanied it. Apart from scaring the S**t out of me at 2.30am it also made me hit the back button faster than a "hail mary" throw from a mississippi born quarter-back.


 8:12 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMO sound, voice etc are acceptable, BUT the default setting must be set to "mute" with user given the ability to turn it on if he's in the mood and on a broadband.
On a repeat visit it's acceptable to have them on (cookie based) if a user opted for them previously.
Just my 2 cents...


 8:27 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

A website with background music is so freaking groovy, especially if it's built with Frontpage 1.0.

Websites like these are cool the way a leopard print skirt is cool. They are the platform heels of the internet, the David Soul/Hutch [freespace.virgin.net] to your Paul Michael Glaser/Starsky [sonypictures.com].

Midi is like Mac and Cheese. Background music is cool beyond words, especially in the hands of those who don't know better.


 8:49 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you understand your market then it can enhance the proposition. Clearly you're not going to put music on a page for a product a product sell of a new graphics card.

However, a faint background sound of the sea when viewing a presentation or flash movie sunk in an HTML content page could do you some favours.

I'd never use midi though, too difficult to guess which midi instruments are going to be played at the user end. What's more if you use a safe Midi set, these instruments sound a bit like the old monophonic keyboards you could buy for $30 back in the 80s.

When you want to put commercial (ie mass market) tracks on your site you'll usually find the costs prohibitive as licensing the usage is, apart from anything else, something that the agencies running this field have not grasped yet as an affordable commercial licensing model.

So your third alternative is to.. either use library music, which can be okay but can still be costly, or find someone that writes good music and is currently unlicensed, thus the agreement on costs is a negotiation.

I've added music I've written to websites only when I've felt it would enhance the proposition. The skill is ensuring that the actual bitrate quality is going to enhance the website as a whole (which requires a deeper knowledge of encoding). The danger is that you will serve bad quality sound and make the user think, "this sounds terrible" and actually dilute the perception the user has about the quality of the product or service being viewed. It's a fine balance. Currently I've found flash is a good medium for delivery, So naturally a prerequisite for having this installed by the user for viewing the site determines whether I advise it's use. If its the case that flash is not a requisite for the site then I won't use the music.

We are all used to seeing loads of sites work and not work. I've noted though that whenever I show a site to someone that has music on it (not an internet savvy), they say "oh that's cool". You can even use some kind of cookie so that on the users second visit a nice little message appears saying "you listened to music on your last visit, would you like to switch it off now and in the future". That's a problem with webmusicked [sic] sites I've seen, trying to turn off the music is hard to do...designers don't make it clear.

I don't agree with a generic "oh music is terrible on websites" it just doesn't sound thought out properly. And if it's tacky music...what's it doing on the website? Unless you are selling tack.



 8:50 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

If someone has a sound file they think is oh so nifty for their site and that it would be fun to show off, well then put it on a side menu with a link to play the file and offer it to the visitors. Don't force it on them. Then watch how many times the link is clicked (if ever).

Or you could try to be cute and list it as your website's theme song if it's a more personalized site. But for commercial sites its like the 3rd rail, with folks reaching for that back button...


 8:51 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wanna have people visit and stick to your site in any situation - like while having a coffee in the shared office or in between phone calls and the boss is next door, so many other situations where people run into unwanted sound that alerts the surrounding: "hey, someone is surfing the net for fun" - don't do this to your users PLEASE.


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